A round up of resources – How we find places to stay

As well as being exciting, embarking on a European trip for the first time or entering an unknown country can also be a little daunting. As we left the now familiar territory of Spain and entered Italy, we took to the internet and our various resources to research where to visit and where to stay. Each country has a different way of doing things and so we have to rely on resources and others knowledge to help us along the way. So I thought it may be useful to others taking to the open road to share some of the information we have gathered along the way. We use a mixture of campsites, aires (or the countries equivalent) and wild camping spots.

Campsites ACSI Books or App

We use the ACSI guide as our bible to off season discounted campsites, many of which only charge the high season price in July and August meaning we can use them the rest of the year at a discounted rate. Covering 20 European countries, you can either purchase an off line version of their app which also gives you an ACSI card which campsites will ask you to present to obtain the discounted rate or you can order the book for which you receive 2 guides, a map book and the card (we opted for the latter as at the time we didn’t realise there was an off line app available. The ACSI rates for sites are between 11 & 19 Euros which includes electric. We only normally go on campsites for short stays so if doing a long stay its worth checking with the site as often the long term rate of 1 month or above is less. Cost books £13

FullSizeRender (13)

Maps.me App

We were introduced to this by a fellow motorhomer last year (thanks Ian Whittaker & also Mark Williams for sharing info) and this off line mapping system has become our clear favourite. As the maps work off line you do not need data to use it which is a real bonus when on the road. It enables users to pin their own stops on the map system and share their information with other motorhomers who can also reciprocate. If you use an on line resource like search for sites (more about that shortly) and leave reviews, because you have contributed you can then download the information into your mapping system – voila you have a map full of useful information that you can use off line. The maps.me system also allows searches, so for instance if we want to know where the local tourist information is or our nearest Lidl supermarket we simply search for the relevant item and it will return the info. We can either then use the mapping system to route us to the place or use the co-ordinates in our sat nav. This app has also allowed us to map all our stops on route so if we wish to look back at where we’ve been or re-visit somewhere we have all the information in one place. Most importantly though unlike our ACSI guides it doesn’t take up any space! Cost FREE

IMG_4949
Maps.me app showing pins of places to stay

Search For Sites On Line only but app coming soon

An on line resource featuring a mixture of campsites, wild camping spots and motorhome stopovers. Just go to www.searchforsites.co.uk. This is a fantastic resource although we haven’t used the actual website a great deal due to the fact that you need to be on line and when traveling data is precious. We have contributed and reviewed any stopovers that we obtained from there, which in turn allowed us to download the valuable data from here into our maps.me app. We have recently learned that they have obtained sponsorship to develop an app with an off line paid for version which would be high on our list or purchases. Cost website version free App TBA

IMG_4954

Camper Contact App

Another app which if paid for can be used off line. This app has separate search boxes for campsites, motorhome service points only and stopovers (aires or equivalent) or allows a map search where you can view all three. There are often reviews in various languages but these can now be translated with the click of a button. A useful app that we use as a back up when needed. Cost for off line version £5.99 a lite version is available free but you will need data to use it

IMG_4948

Park 4 Night App

Another app which if paid for can be used off line. This is mainly wild camping spots or motorhome parking areas and all info is contributed by the motorhome community. As it was developed by three French guys, most of the reviews and information are in French, but if your school French isn’t good enough then you can always use google translate to help out. We have found some great little wild camping spots on this app although we have also looked at some and not stayed due to them not being suitable (maybe due to us being there at a different time of year to the contributor). Cost Free for the on line version and £9.99 for the off line version

IMG_4947

All The Aires France, Spain & Portugal – Books

We invested in books that cover the Aires in the above countries before embarking on our trip. Although we have used them (especially in France) we won’t bother renewing them. The Spain and Portugal book is a poor effort and definitely not worth the investment. Not only are they big heavy books, a lot of the info can now be found on line through one or several of the above resources. Cost £25.50 For the French version £17.99 for the Spain and Portugal version.

FullSizeRender (12)

Camperstop Europe Book

Yes this is another BIG heavy book to lug around, but a present we are still doing just that. The fact that it covers motorhome parking areas both paid and free in 27 Countries is a real bonus and so we are reluctant to let it go at present just in case in comes in useful in some of the more obscure places we may be visiting later this year. We used this book lots last year and are not ready to say our goodbyes yet as we still feel it has a place. It also allows you to download the GPS coordinates into your sat nav for an additional fee. Cost £25.50

FullSizeRender

Archies Campsite App

This is both a website and an app which details campsites. Although we have our ACSI books these only detail sites that are ACSI approved and there are lots of others out there. I have to be honest and say that we are yet to use this app. The information on there seems a little limited compared to others apps. The only info given is the campsite coordinates, telephone number and opening dates. As there are no reviews there is no guidance on whether the site is good or bad or how much it costs.. Maybe we will get use out of it in one of the countries we are visiting this year (I hope so). Cost £8.00

IMG_4952
The limited info shown on the Archies camping app

 

 

My LPG App

We also use mylpg.eu for finding service stations that have LPG for our refillable system .It does require data and it’s not always accurate but it has certainly helped us out lots in the past. Cost Free

IMG_4950
The blue dots show LPG stations

UK Only

Brit Stops Book

The French really do know how to look after motorhomers, not only do they offer thousands of aires and hundreds of campsites they also have a great scheme called French Passion which allows members to stay at Vinyeards, farms etc for free (with a hope that they will buy some produce).Although it’s not something we invested in we did opt to buy a similar thing which was introduced in the UK a couple of years ago called Britstops. Although mainly made up of overnight stays at pubs it certainly has its uses for those who need a night or two on route to their destination. We bought ours when we first bought our motorhome and used it several times that year. Like the French Passion idea you should have a drink or a meal or buy produce at the venue in exchange for a free stay. Cost £27.50

Campsites UK Website

In the past we have used either www.ukcampsite.co.uk or www.pitchup.com which both detail campsites throughout the UK together with reviews.

Happy Travels all

 

 

Advertisements

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Alun says:

    All very useful. I wonder if your readers will come up with any more? Thanks for another interesting article.

    Like

    1. Hi Alun oh I’m sure there’s lots of others!!! These are just a few we’ve found useful. Get planning your new adventure.

      Best Wishes Andi

      Like

  2. Mr Jeff garside says:

    Thanks u2 for this excellent review of resources. Erm…..French Passion sounds great, I think you meant France Passion,😁😇….enjoy Italy and the rest of Europe…

    Like

    1. Oh La La!!!! I wonder what was in my mind when I wrote that!! We have now made it to Greece so will right another update soon.

      Best Wishes
      Andi

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s